Anatomy And Physiology Of The Nose And Throat

The nose is the organ of smell located in the center of the face. The inside of the nose is above the roof of the mouth. The nose is made up of:

  • The external meatus. Triangular projection located in the center of the face.
  • The nostrils. Two chambers divided by the nasal septum.
  • The nasal septum. Mainly made up of cartilage and bone and covered by mucous membranes. Cartilage also shapes and supports the outside of the nose.
  • The nostrils. Ducts covered by a mucous membrane and tiny hairs (cilia) that help filter the air.
  • The paranasal sinuses. Four pairs of air-filled cavities, also lined by a mucous membrane.

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What are paranasal sinuses?

The paranasal sinuses are cavities, or air-filled bags, near the nostrils. As in the nostrils, the paranasal sinuses are lined with mucous membranes. There are four different types of sinuses:

  • The ethmoidal sinus: located inside the face, around the area of ​​the bridge of the nose. It is already developed at birth and then continues to grow
  • The maxillary sinus: located inside the face, around the cheek area. It is also developed at birth and then continues to grow.
  • The frontal sinus: located inside the face, around the forehead area. The breast does not begin to develop until approximately seven years of age.
  • The sphenoid sinus: located deep in the face, behind the nose. It usually does not develop until adolescence.

What is the throat?

The throat is a tube similar to a muscular ring that acts as the conduit for air, food, and fluids. The throat also aids in speech formation. The throat is made up of:

    • The larynx (or voice box): A larynx is a cylindrical group of cartilage, muscles, and soft tissue that contains the vocal cords. The vocal cords are the upper hole in the windpipe, the conduit to the lungs.
    • The epiglottis: a fin made of soft tissue and located just above the vocal cords. The epiglottis folds over the vocal cords to prevent food and irritating substances from entering the lungs.
  • Tonsils and Adenoids: The tonsils and adenoids are made up of lymphatic tissue and are located on the back and sides of the mouth. Their role is to protect against infection, but they generally don’t have much use after childhood.